Catholic Bishops in CAR Denounce “sterile rivalry between Clerics and Laity”

Members of the Central African Episcopal Conference (CECA). Credit: LANOCA

Catholic Bishops in the Central African Republic (CAR) have denounced the differences and competition between members of the Clergy and the Laity in the country and are calling for “co-responsibility” in the mission of the Church.

In a statement issued Sunday, January 14, members of the Central African Episcopal Conference (CECA) say that during the “wide-ranging consultations of the People of God” in the Synod on Synodality, “many Christians denounced the lack of co-responsibility between Clerics and lay people in the way the Church is organized, run and governed and in the proclamation of the Gospel.”

“The urgent challenge facing our Church today is to overcome the sterile rivalry between Clerics and Laity,” CECA members say in the statement issued at the end of their Ordinary Plenary Assembly.

Addressing the challenge, they say, “requires a conversion of mentalities, minds and hearts, a better articulation of the common and ministerial priesthood, a redefinition of the meaning of authority and co-responsibility in the mission.”

In this Year of Mission, Catholic Bishops in CAR say, “Synodality appears as a call from the Lord to walk together, Priests and lay faithful, assuming the common responsibility of serving the community, each according to his or her own vocation.”


They continue, “Synodality is also a vibrant call to rediscover the meaning of authority as service, in the image of Christ the Servant, who humbled himself by taking on the condition of a slave and who did not hesitate to put aside his clothes to wash the feet of his disciples.” 

“Authority in the form of service necessarily leads to discernment of charisms, gifts and ministries in the Church,” the Catholic Church leaders in CAR say in their statement titled, “All Disciples, all missionaries: As the Father sent me, so I send you.”

They invite members of Small Christian Communities (SCCs), parish communities and the various Diocesan groups to “rethink the pastoral structures, modes of governance and decision-making of our particular Church in such a way that the reflections lead to concrete proposals that promote the charisms and ministries of each person.”

“This path can only be fully taken when we embrace the challenge of the Truth and remain under the action of the Holy Spirit, who must lead us to the whole Truth,” CECA members say.

They welcome and encourage the role played by Catechists and community leaders in pastoral animation, especially “those who are not regularly visited by Priests.”

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“We rejoice in the commitment of lay people to the process of taking responsibility for themselves and in their involvement in the restoration, extension and construction of their churches and chapels,” CECA members say in their ten-page statement.

They offer “support and comfort to all Christians persecuted for their moral integrity and out of fidelity to their faith.”

The Catholic Bishops call upon the faithful to “denounce the evils of our society and commit themselves resolutely to finding solutions.”

“Each of us must be the voice of Christ who continues to encourage his brothers and sisters to advance along the path that leads to liberation from all the misery, disinformation and conditioning that debase human beings,” CECA members say.

They add, “We are called to carry the voice of the peripheries, seeking above all to respond to them ourselves as missionaries of the mercy of the One who sends us.”


The Catholic Church leaders encourage the people of God “to cultivate a greater sense of solidarity and to listen to the cries of their brothers and sisters who find themselves in situations of distress.”

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.